Thursday, August 20, 2009

Slaughterhouse...Or, Why Internet Fans Ain't Worth A Damn.

2009 is proving to be the worst year for hip-hop record sales ever. (I think I heard with digital downloads, 2009 has just missed being the worst year for overall music sales so far, but there's still a few months left for that to change.)

I try not to be like these other hip-hop stans, watching first week sales like baseball standings. But while I try to ignore bad sales news, I had to laugh when Jim Jones bricked with 43k his first week out. Then my interest was sparked when his former boss, Cam'ron Giles (a god MC in my opinion) came back from retirement a few months later...and only sold about 43,300 HIS first week. With a good album! (Check it again, haters.)

Dip Set members aside, though, established stars have been doing better than new acts. Eminem gets this year's Lil Wayne Award for selling music on a pre-broadband level. Jadakiss, Fabolous, Officer Rick Ross, all did respectable numbers. DOOM actually sold more than anyone expected.

But the freshman class dropping 2009 debut albums has underperformed all the expectations. Asher Roth (see previous too-long rant) sank softly with less than 70k sold his first week. Guess "Lark On My Go-Kart" wasn't a good followup for that Weezer sampling singalong. This dude Dorrough has MTV Jams AND the radio station on fire with his single "Ice Cream Paint Job," but when he dropped last week? Scanned a trifling 12,600 copies.

So the news that Slaughterhouse only sold 18-22k the first week out shouldn't surprise me. These guys get no radio play or label promo. On the other hand, they got the internet going nuts. But once again, as with Asher, the hard numbers prove internet popularity is worth little when it comes to sales.

Internet popularity + some residual fanbase = decent results (Jadakiss etc.) Or, internet popularity + a label push gets OKAY returns (Asher Roth). But when you have no movement whatsoever aside from broke bloggers? These are approximately how many of them turn out & pay up. I would guess there are some heads, like me, who download music but then turn out to see the music live. Show money is the real money, right? Cash in rappers' hands, no label recoup BS to worry about?

This may not work as well for Slaughterhouse because none of those dudes has sex appeal, apart from possibly the rapidly aging Joe Budden. Many girls who claim to be "real hip-hop heads" only want to see dudes perform they find attractive- my girl dragged me to a Cudi show, and Wale gets that kind of female love too, but on the other hand, that same chick literally recoiled in disgust when she saw Joell Ortiz's face on a flyer. She asked me "Is that Sinbad's fatter cousin?" (No shots!)

They do sell out shows on the East Coast, though, don't they? It would be good if Slaughterhouse was economically viable, despite these tough times. That album is a beast, and we need more real boom bap in the hip hop universe. Sean Price, Jada & the other old heads are good, but we need new new...even from "new" old head supergroups like Slaughterhouse & the Undergods. You guys think the Slaughterhouse cats are eating? At an income level approaching middle class? I hope so.

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